The Cubs won't get a whack at Dickey this series, but they'll still face plenty of good pitching against the suddenly solid Mets. Despite the astounding success of Dickey and Johan Santana's rebound, the Mets have only given up 13 fewer runs than the Cubs. Their offense has been surprisingly good (two runs shy of the best in the division) but overall they only have a run differential of +3. With Reyes and Beltran gone I probably couldn't name more than two or three of the Mets starting position players, so they must be finding good value somewhere.
NL Ranks in parens
|wOBA||.314 (8th)||.297 (14th)|
|BSR||2.5 (5th)||3.1 (3rd)|
|UZR||-27.5 (16th)||3.7 (8th)|
|DRS||-22 (12th)||+12 (4th)|
|SP FIP||3.72 (6th)||4.07 (11th)|
|RP FIP||4.08 (13th)||4.66 (16th)|
The Mets are getting decent offense out of their players, but the defensive metrics agree that RF Lucas Duda (-12.6 UZR, -11 DRS) and 2B Daniel Murphy (-8.2 UZR, -11 DRS) are giving much of it right back. ZiPS agrees big time on the awful defending from Duda, while everyone else rates as average to bad. Sometime CF Andres Torres and SS Ruben Tejada are the only members on the whole team projected to be above average.
Monday: Johan Santana, LHP (3.00, 3.29, 3.73, 3.44) vs Travis Wood, LHP (4.14, 5.45, 4.50, 4.29), 7:05 PM CT
It's hard to believe that Santana was only gone for one season. Somehow I had equated his injury woes with Chien-Ming Wang, who took forever to make his way back to the bigs after multiple surgeries and setbacks. It is safe to say that Santana is Back, and then some. His strikeout rates dipped after coming to the Mets from the Twins, which is especially puzzling given the league change. This year, however, he's back to the batter an inning rate from his Minneapolis years. He's walking a bit more, but his no-hitter on June 1 following a complete game shutout of the Padres the start before have erased any doubts that he has any rust to break off. Those starts are even more impressive given how awful the Mets defense is. I can't think of another pitcher that has bounced back as well from a season ending injury as Santana, and that includes another notable TJSer from this year. After looking at Strasburg's stats (2.26 FIP) maybe I'm getting a bit ahead of myself here (laughing). It was nice of the Cubs to make sure that Johan Santana wasn't his Welcome To The Big Leagues present (laughing)
Wood's FIP numbers are skewed by the 4 HR game a month or so ago on a day when the wind was howling out of Wrigley. But even if you discount those he's merely pitching okay. My lying eyes tell me that he's been victim to the Sean Marshall syndrome, namely, looking great the first two times through the order then losing his handle around the fifth inning. It looks like I'm wrong though, as his walk rate is actually lower in innings 4-6. He's only pitched 1.2 innings past the sixth so he hasn't gone very deep in games.
Tuesday: Dillon Gee, RHP (4.27, 3.94, 3.34, 4.55) vs Randy Wells, RHP (4.91, 5.27, 6.23, 4.63), 7:05 PM CT
Gee and Mets teammate Lucas Duda are names that I always gloss over because for whatever reason I think their names sound like autogenerated names from a video game. He's either had lousy strand rate luck or is not very good out of the stretch. He was solidly replacement level his in both rookie season and the minors, and regression should be creeping his numbers back to the 4.50-ish pitcher that he is.
Wells stunk up the joint yet again in his last start, walking four in 3.2 innings. Sveum made noises like he was going to lose his rotation spot, then remembered that the alternatives were Rodrigo Lopez, Casey Coleman, Chris Volstad, and Chris Rusin. So Wells is pitching tomorrow.
Wednesday: Jon Niese, LHP (3.75, 4.33, 3.40, 3.97) vs Jeff Samardzija, RHP (4.34, 3.28, 3.37, 3.90), 1:20 PM CT
Samardzija's FIP looks pretty good, but if you may have heard that Samardzija has had problems leaving his four seam fastball up in the zone. It would be great if he would stop doing that, just like how it would be great if Castro and Vitters took some more walks and Brett Jackson stopped striking out so much. The rest of his stuff looked pretty good in his last start, though someone (Bob?) pointed out that he was having trouble the third time through the order. Of course, so do most other pitchers. But I'm too lazy to find out if that's especially true.
I didn't realize that Niese was still pitching for the Mets. I keep confusing him with John Maine in my head. He's a quietly solid midrotation guy. He posted a 3.36 FIP last season that was masked by a 4.40 ERA, mostly due to BABIP and bad strand rate luck. He's had some problems with the long ball this year but has otherwise continued to post solid numbers.